Canucks-Blackhawks: 10 Reasons Game 5 Is Extremely Important
The dominance of the President's Trophy winner was clear and definite in the first two games of the opening round of the NHL Playoffs.
But, Game 3 was a bit closer to what Chicago fans have come to expect over the past several years despite the 3-2 loss, and Game 4 was a truly nostalgic throwback to the past two seasons with a 7-2 drubbing of Canucks.
With that win, it brought about a sense of hope for the defending champions that they could possibly be the 4th team to come back from 3-0 in a series to win.
But, it all starts with Game 5 in Vancouver, and we shall see what comes of it.
10. The Home Ice Advantage for Vancouver
Up until this year it has not gone particularly well for the Canucks when they are in their own stomping grounds of Vancouver in the playoffs against the Blackhawks.
Last season they lost all three match ups against Chicago at home, and those games were not really close for the most part. The season before that saw the Canucks take one game, but that was out of three.
This series saw them annihilate the Blackhawks at home with the white towels spinning wildly on many occasions. This Canucks team has played brilliantly at home, and it has become a nightmare to play in.
9. Will Show If Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Can Rise to Occasion Again
It has become clear that the key figure-heads of the Blackhawks 'core' group of players have not done enough to warrant the public's satisfaction with their play.
Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were more or less taken out as key contributors for the majority of the first three games of the series by savvy and talented Canucks defensemen.
Game 4 had them play better, but not at the level they are capable of—or near that of Bryan Bickell or Dave Bolland. They will need to play at the Olympic/All-Star level they are capable of if they want this series to go on.
8. We Will See the Resolve of the Canucks
Rattled, perturbed, and shaken are words that can describe the look of the Canucks in the previous years of elimination when facing the Blackhawks. It also can describe how they looked throughout Game 4.
The ghosts of the past seemed to have awoken and it remains to be seen if it was for one night only. Of course, this Canucks team may make Game 4 seem like a small hiccup by the end of tonight, but history does repeat itself sometimes.
If they can rebound and close out the series, they will have buried the team that has taken them out of the playoffs twice before their time in the past two seasons, and it very well could be smooth sailing from there.
7. Fights Could Be Brewing Throughout the Game
This rivalry has quickly become one of the more heated in the league, and the disdain for one another among these hockey clubs cannot be hidden.
In fact it has carried over into the fan bases that can be seen arguing throughout the internet, and at the game's themselves. But the on-ice tension is also something that cannot be ignored.
With the imposing John Scott looking to simply take someone out with his 6'8 frame, and the infamous Raffi Torres still on the ice after the violent hit on Brent Seabrook that knocked him out of Game 4 and tonight's game, it very well could happen early.
Do not be surprised to see something that the refs cannot stop if one of the teams get up by a large margin.
6. History Says We Are in Store for Two More Games
If the 2009 and 2010 editions of the NHL Playoffs serve as a guide to show how this series will play out, then it can be surmised that we are in for seeing a Game 6.
Both of the previous playoff match ups saw the Hawks and Canucks go to a sixth game that was eventually won in Vancouver by Chicago.
The twist this season would be that the game would be in the United Center, and this time the Canucks would be the favored road team that has the advantage in the series.
5. The Sedins Have to Show They Can Get a "Statement" Win
No one can deny that Henrik and Daniel Sedin are two of the greatest hockey players in the world today. That is fact.
But these two dynamic stars are still lacking experience in the NHL on the grandest stage, playing for the greatest trophy in professional sports.
The bane of their existence the past two seasons were the likes of Ben Eager and Dustin Byfuglien.
Those two are gone and now the other craw in their side, Dave Bolland, has returned. The twins have to prove that they will not be known as MVP's that only got it done in the regular season. They can start tonight.
4. The Doubt Will Creep in for Luongo with Another Loss
Roberto Luongo has become the premiere goaltender in the Western Conference not by a fluke or luck, but by the fact that he really is that good.
Like the Sedins, he is trying to show that he can overcome what has happened in the past, and show why this Canucks team is different.
If he does lay an "egg" tonight with another bad performance and cannot put the Blackhawks away, it will not be a pretty picture for him in Chicago for Game 6.
Also, the feeling that inside he may think to himself, "how can I beat these guys" may cross his mind.
3. Win One for 'Seabs'
This one could have been a rallying cry for the Blackhawks in Game 4 as well, but the Blackhawks will yet again play without their world-class defensemen Brent Seabrook.
The hit that infuriated Blackhawks fans, and even got some Canucks fans to raise an eyebrow (with no suspension to Raffi Torres) has become a rallying cry for some in the world of Blackhawks fans.
Seabrook made the trip up to Vancouver, but could not give it a go. He is like several other Blackhawks that have gotten banged up in this violent and passionate series.
2. Could Set the Stage for Epic Battle at the "Madhouse on Madison"
The Canucks have already stated that they are not big fans of the Blackhawks home ice goal song "Chelsea Dagger", and with a win they would not have to hear it for a good, long time.
But, if they are unable to come up with a victory tonight; they will have to return to Chicago, and the United Center for what will be billed as top of the line Sunday entertainment. This would be a tough ticket, and would get ratings through the roof in terms of television views.
1. The Blackhawks Are Defending Being the "Defending" Champions
With every game until the series is done, the Blackhawks are in the position of having to win or go home.
With a loss, they will not be the defending Stanley Cup champions anymore, and will join the other teams in the league in hoping that next season will bring about greater fortunes.
The stakes are high. Not only for the Blackhawks who do not want to go quietly into the night, but for a Vancouver team that does not want to be associated with the greatest collapses in professional sports history.